Why L’Occitane’s New Virtual Store Uses Gaming And Personalization

French beauty brand L’Occitane en Provence has launched a interactive virtual store for the holiday season. The digital activation developed by retail tech outfit Emperia is conceived as an Alpine chalet and features limited edition holiday ranges, alongside personalization options and gamified edutainment spotlighting the brand’s recycling initiatives.

Visitors can find gift wrapping elements scattered around the space out of which they can build their own customized box. Upon completion of this mini-game, an animation reveals the personalized box, alongside a “special L’Occitane holiday reward.”

Products are arranged in five areas—advent calendar, holidays limited edition collection, gift sets, fragrances and Santa’s wish list—that are defined according to budget. The holiday collection designs have been created in partnership with UK-based artist Steven Wilson, who has previously worked with Nike, The Oscars, Virgin and MTV.

Meanwhile, venturing outside of the chalet, visitors can light up an olive tree and create their own personalized postcard, containing their curated product wishlist.

“The olive tree is symbolic and traditional for Provence, so our vision was to bring back those traditions to our customers,” Mariana Rodrigues, Marketing Director of L’Occitane Middle East said in a statement. Given the current climate, the olive tree, also a universal symbol of peace, was a smart choice.

This is Emperia’s second activation with L’Occitane. Earlier this year, the platform developed an immersive experience to showcase the brand’s retail universe and spotlight ingredients and best-selling products. Visitors could take a bicycle ride through the lavender fields of Provence and fly over Corsica in a hot air balloon. Emperia told Forbes that 30% of visitors to the L’Occitane site also visited the experience.

According to Olga Dogadkina, co-founder and CEO at Emperia, “nowadays users are demanding more from their online retail experience, expecting a far more personalized and interactive journey, one that reflects the brand’s values and elevates the shopping experience, to adhere to their own set of needs, wants and preferences.”

She added that the personalization and storytelling nature of such campaigns significantly improve brand loyalty and online performance.

Emperia is known for powering the creation of virtual stores for brands including Dior, Burberry and Lacoste. Its first of two shoppable activations for French apparel brand Lacoste, which celebrate the 2022 holiday season, won a Webby in May for the awards’ Plug and Play Brand and Retail Start-up category.

Both Lacoste experiences also featured gamified elements including a crocodile-themed scavenger hunt game.

According to McKinsey, the beauty market is expected to reach approximately $580 billion by 2027 while IPSOS places the current value of the gaming industry at $385 billion—set to increase to over $522 billion by 2027. A recent report by GEEIQ predicts 179% growth in virtual environments for personal care and cosmetics by 2025.

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